Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas!

This busy time of year became busier when my Aunt Sis (not of the record-breaking family) passed away yesterday. She was a beautiful person with a wonderful sense of humour, and what I will always remember is how she hated to say goodbye. Teared up every time! She's having her merriest Christmas yet in heaven with the husband she's missed for twenty years. Friends and family will be gathering to remember and celebrate her over the next few days, and I'm thinking that it might just be a good thing to take a wee Christmas break from these moodlings so that I can be fully present to all those around me.

I'll leave you with this lovely image drawn by L'Arche Edmonton's old friend, Michel Bouchard, and his friends Madeleine Ellis and Annie Charbonneau from Atelier L'Alize of L'Arche Montreal. I love the birds, and the holy family's friendly, smiling greeting! You can see L'Arche Canada's lovely Christmas card (from which I borrowed this image) by clicking here.

I wonder if this picture was partly inspired by a letter from Jean Vanier dated January 2012...
This year Christmas will be associated for me to the joy of birds rejoicing before a new birth in Bethlehem: birds who sing around the manger, along beside the ox and donkey, small lambs and probably a goat...
Jean's writings are beautiful... here's a little more from that same letter....
One day we will hear, over the noise of fears, bells ringing and Christmas carols singing, “Peace, peace, peace on earth”. Christmas happens each day that out of darkness comes a small light. Yes, peace is in our hands, is in my hands. I can do small acts of tenderness and love to reveal to the different ‘others’ their beauty. At L’Arche, as with Faith and Light, we are not militants for a cause but rather witnesses of hope. We know the smiling and beautiful eyes, of Estelle; people say she has Down’s syndrome. Some would have liked to have killed her before she was born. Others would have liked to have healed her Down’s syndrome. But there she is, with her luminous eyes, revealing the presence of God. The world is turned upside-down. God of peace, so gentle, so humble and so merciful, is not hidden in the stars above us or in beautiful ideas of intelligent speeches but rather in the face of Estelle, the face of a child. It is not a matter of healing or eliminating these children but of creating places where all people, whatever fragilities or difficulties they might have, can find their place in society. It is not so much a question of ‘healing’ Estelle as it is a question of healing attitudes of fear and rejection that exist in our societies. It is a question of creating communities of welcome where all people can grow, develop, find confidence in themselves and discover the deep meaning of their lives....
May this holy season be a time of peace, gentleness, humility and compassion for you and yours, and may you witness the birds' rejoicing with a quiet joy of your own...

Merry Christmas, and see you early in the New Year!

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